Call for removal of hurdles to Pak-Afghan mutual trade

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: Participants at a meeting highlighted impediments that were hindering mutual Pak-Afghan bilateral trade and called for bilateral agreement to enhance trade volume between two neighbouring countries.

Islamabad and Kabul needed to take joint steps to address issues of traders’ community at both sides of the border, Muhammad Ishaq stressed while talking to Afghan Commercial Attaché in Peshawar Waheedullah Himat during a meeting here at the chamber’s house.

Transport Attaché, Afghan Consulate Peshawar Ismail Shinwari and Coordinator Dr Hamid were present in the meeting.

The meeting was also attended by the SCCI’s senior vice president Shahid Hussain, vice president Ejaz Khan Afridi, Director Pak-Afghan Joint Chambers of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI), Ziaul Haq Sarhadi, Chairman Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry Standing Committee on Land Route Imtiaz Ali, traders, exporters and importers.

The meeting stressed the need of signing a mutual trade agreement between Pakistan and Afghanistan and proactive measures for removal of hurdles in the way of mutual trade between two neighbouring countries.

It was also discussed issues pertaining to transport at the border region.
Afghan diplomats apprised the SCCI president about illegal collection of heavy fines/illegal taxes from Torkham border to Punjab, establishment of unregistered/unnecessary check points and harassment of Afghan transporters by Pakistani authorities concerned.

The Afghan consulate officials said the illegal practice has created great unrest among relevant Afghan authorities, transporters, a sense of insecurity among them and apprehensions also raised about lack of facilities.

On the occasion, a detailed discussion was held regarding the bilateral trade agreement between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Participants of the meeting suggested a number of proposals for removal of hurdles in the way of mutual Pak-Afghan trade.

Muhammad Ishaq fully agreed with the recommendations of the participants, saying the improvement in bilateral trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan is essential for stabilizing economy of the both countries.

The SCCI chief noted the mutual trade volume between Pakistan and Afghanistan has dropped exponentially, which isn’t beneficial for the economy of the both countries.

Therefore, he called for taking initiatives at governments’ level, framing of joint roadmap and strategy to remove all those hurdles, hampering mutual trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Shahid Hussain while speaking on the occasion stressed the dire need of hour to promote mutual trade with Afghanistan and regional countries to bring economic prosperity and development in the country.

Therefore, he asked the government to provide facilities and special incentives to traders in order to enhance bilateral trade with Afghanistan and the rest of the Central Asian Republic. He emphasized that all issues should be resolved under a joint strategy.

Earlier, the meeting decided to organise a joint meeting of Pakistan and Afghanistan traders under the aegis of the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry.